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General Synod backs call to encourage blood and organ donation

The General Synod has backed a call for all 16,000 CofE churches to encourage their congregations to consider becoming blood donors or registering as organ donors.

Members voted to approve a motion from Leeds Diocesan Synod put by Father Paul Cartwright, a former police officer and now a priest in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, aimed at increasing the number of blood and organ donors in the UK.

Father Paul told the General Synod of how he had seen lives transformed by organ donation while working as a police family liaison officer supporting families of those seriously injured or killed in road traffic collisions.

He added that after receiving a certificate and gift from the National Blood Service for the number of blood, platelets and plasma donations he made, his life was saved by donated blood products when he was diagnosed with an acute leukaemia in 2008.

"For my wife and two children, as well as my extended family, the kindness of people donating blood and blood products has meant that I have so far been able to spend seven extra years with them, after I was diagnosed with an acute fast acting leukaemia in 2008," he told the General Synod.

"The blood products that I received saved my life, and to be honest I'm unable to find the words to thank those who kindly donated the blood and platelets that saved me, and so I thank God every day for them."

The motion comes after the Church of England has contributed to four major policy debates in recent years and taken part in six national initiatives including being a founder associate of the Flesh and Blood churches campaign to increase the number of blood and organ donors in the UK.

The campaign has seen thousands of leaflets and posters distributed to churches throughout the country.

The Rt Rev James Newcome,  Bishop of Carlisle, and lead bishop for the Church of England on health care and medical ethics, warmly welcomed the Diocesan Synod motion. He told the General Synod that the need for more blood and organ donations was 'enormous.'

End

Notes to editors:

Here is the wording of the motion, originally proposed by the Allerton Deanery, and passed by the General Synod:

On behalf of the Leeds Diocesan Synod:

'That this Synod call on all Church of England parishes to encourage their members to consider, as part of their Christian giving: (a) becoming blood donors; and (b) registering as organ donors and making their wishes known to their families.'

For more information about the Flesh and Blood campaign see www.fleshandblood.org

To listen to the debate in full see http://bit.ly/1opa7iI

Daily Digest